- Defence industries became vitally important.
- Southern farming became more mechanised and large-scale (therefore, blacks not needed to work on farms)
African-Americans moved to the cities. 4 million LEFT Southern farms and 2 million migrated to the North and West.
- Large scale migration gave blacks greater economic and political power.
- Gave greater safety - harder for white supremacists intimidate large groups of black people.
Blacks and whites in overcrowded cities
WHAT DID THIS CAUSE?
- Urban housing shortages - Whites saw blacks as rivals for homes (caused tension)
- Race Riots - 1943 race riots (worst ones in Detroit - 39 people died, and 800 were left injured)
- Unusual close proximity - caused tension, especially in the South. Acts of defiance on overcrowded buses.
CITY AUTHORITIES SYMPATHETIC?
No and if they were, they had a funny way of showing it. Washington DC's black community suffered as the federal government expanded, physically (e.g. Several hundred black homes were demolished to make way for the Pentagon building)
Blacks and whites working together.
TENSION IN THE WORKPLACE
- 1943: White workers (female & male) lashed out at black workers with any 'weapons' they could lay their hands on, including bricks and tools - 50 injured.
- Jealousy over the best jobs.
- (Alpha tendency) White males disliked black men working alongside white women.
BLACKS SERVING IN THE ARMED FORCES.
- Southern military bases containing Northern black soldiers were trouble spots (Louisana: drunken black soldier's arrest led to a 2 hour riot - 13 blacks were shot)
WHAT DID THIS CAUSE?
The number & intensity of unfairness helped mobilise blacks to try to help themselves.
Increased black consciousness & activism.
WHICH CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANISATION BENEFITTED?
The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) numbers increased from 50k to 450k during WW2.
- New members: Most were Southern professionals (1/3 of NAACP members were Southern) Co-operation with trade unions also brought in urban workers.
- Close co-operation between the NAACP and trade unionists transformed leadership into effective work on equal educational opportunities and voter registration.
- Pointed out that the USA itself had not achieved true democracy until all Southern blacks could vote (white Americans became increasingly aware)
BENEFITS FOR BLACKS?
- More bargaining power - wartime demand. (Randolph threatened to bring DC to a standstill unless there was equality in the armed forces - forced Roosevelt to create the FEPC (Fair Employment Practice Commission)
Sits-ins and boycotts.
- Encouraged economic boycotts and other non-violent tactics.
- 1942: Established CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) - organised sit-ins at segregated Chicago restaurants & demanded desegregation on interstate transport.
1941: Led a succcesful bus boycott to force the company to employ more blacks.
- Most blacks considered activism as eccentric.
- Most blacks remained passive in WW2, not wanting to seem unpatriotic and fearing disorder (esp after Detroit race riots)
- Riots convinced many blacks that Randolph & the radicals were irresponsible. Wartime prosperity also militated against activism.
HOW SUCCESSFUL WAS THE FEPC
- Not very: 2/3 of 8000 job discrimination cases referred to the FEPC were dismissed (lowered ec/soc status of blacks, shows that they weren't taking it seriously)
- Not very: 1/3 of Southern cases were black victories.
- Southern congressmen decreased the FEPC's funding after it was given greater power in 1943.
- Succesful: Was enough to show importance of federal intervention. (B+ for effort)
US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT.
Established a Civil Rights Division - tried to decrease lynching and police brutality in the South.
SOUTHERN POLITICAL RIGHTS.
- 1944 Supreme Court decision (SMITH v ALLWRIGHT). Declared that the exclusion of blacks from primaries as UNCONSTITUITIONAL.
- Segregationists resorted to illegal methods to stop blacks from voting.
- 1940-1947: Number of black registered voters increased from 3% to 12%
- Greater black urbanisation - increased awareness and activism.
- Blacks were inspired by the USA's fight against facism abroad, direct action was increasing and instrumental in the establishment of the FEPC.
- NAACP were slowly getting rid of the 'separate but equal' law.
- Demobilised soldiers were given government aid for a college edcuation - education increased their economic opportunities (ec++) and made them more articulate in demanding equality.
FAILURES or something.
- Irrelevant to Southern blacks - rejected militancy lest it alienated Southern white liberals. Watched the activism with interest.
- When white servicemen came back from the war, blacks were fired from wartime jobs.
- Segregated armed forces decreased morale of some blacks while inspiring others for change.